So. I read this blog post. It made me remember what I sometimes forget. People are idiots. Or moreover, some people are idiots. This guy, or girl, seems to have lost what that is the reasonable digital equivalent of Newtons second principle – namely relevance. Relevance is the air that we all breath, the blood that makes our limbs warm up and the reason people pay us to do our job.
Oh… did I mention what I do for a living… I am a digital dude! The rest of this blog post is directed to the author of the post I read today. My take on what he says. I hope my disbelief in his words, not only shine through or can be read between the line, but is so evident, that it leaves no one confused on where I stand.
A word on relevance and targeting
You seem to oppose targeting. Relevance is targeting. And although I understand, that you do not get how targeting, can equal relevance, it does. You most likely base your targeting assumptions on demographics, rather than behavior. You oppose targeting, because you say it limits reach. I never look for reach. I look for buyers. I look for buying patterns and behaviors and market, through targeted ads, towards those who display this behavior.
You write: “Marketers always overestimate the attraction of new things and underestimate the power of traditional consumer behavior.” But, however, it strikes me after reading a few more of your posts, that you lack the understanding of how to analyze behavior in a digital setting. it is evident that you are an old school advertiser, blinded by your belief in universal creativity solutions. Scared by change, and diminishing client lists, you attempt to talk the talk, but do not know what the words coming out of your mouth means in practice. You yell “strategy”, whilst all that is proven to work, can be tied to tactics. It doesn’t matter how many times you fonies tell me that ideas are valuable. If you don’t know how to execute them, you should shut up about how to best perform them.
Admit it. You have never run an advertising campaign on Facebook ever in your life. You have never administered a Facebook page, nor have you created a viral campaign that is shared amongst thousands of visitors. You haven’t experienced the wonders of social. In fact, you have never even tried. Yet, you are determined that they do not work.
And if. But only if. You had successfully targeted an ad-campaign on Facebook. You would know that your targeting can induce real relevance by using a persons network in order to tie a story to a social capital – such as a friendship. “Person x likes y, thus you like it too.”. Considering 92% of all online consumers trust this type of advertising, I guess you neither have a belief in research. Actually, you say you don’t when you say that: “Brand studies last for months, cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and generally have less impact on business than cleaning the drapes“.
So. You evidently haven’t tried to run a campaign on Facebook, and you do not trust market insights about it. Perhaps someone should try to create a catchy one liner and you’ll be able to catch on, what so many have already learned.
If you deliver an irrelevant ad, people will hate you for it. They will use their chance of interactivity, to distance themselves from you. This is the case with traditional advertising. You simply lack the relevance needed to make use of targeting. People are not the same, just cause they share a demographic. Their behavior and how they are connected to one another, however, does.
A word on facts and value
Perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps you aren’t an old school advertiser, considering the lack of efficiency in online advertising. Perhaps you are an SEO, scared of understanding the process of a pre purchase click chain. Not willing to see the importance of social media in the mix of a final purchase. Perhaps you are simply ignorant. Cause at the same time as you are writing “In fact, online advertising’s record of motivating consumers is alarmingly terrible. With all their clouds full of data, Facebook ads attract 5 clicks for every 10,000 views. This is mindblowingly ineffective.” You are providing your own visitors with neat little clickable ads to the right. I don’t know. Perhaps thinking they alone will sell your books. Or perhaps your lack of otherwise “valuable”, epic content motivates your placement of these ads in the same place as Facebook puts theirs. Yet. I don’t know. Just speculating.
Regardless, your numbers are wrong. Never had a CTR from Facebook lower than 1%. Never seen one under 0.25%. More importantly you seem, in line with my very limited knowledge of business, to display a stunning misconception of what value is, and perhaps less importantly, how to generate it online. In terms of direct value, a metric measuring success should never be a click, but a purchase. It should be money. It should be conversion to some pre determined goal. Not visitors. Not impressions. Not reach, nor impact. But sales.
For online sales, the traceability is simple as you can follow a person, using cookies, from first click to last click in a purchase funnel. For offline purchases, you need to tie this into something, I like to call redemption. Redemption is closely related to interactivity, something I will debug below, as you seem to believe that interactivity is bad. Either way, you need to understand that any analysis of consumer behavior online, and offline, includes a portion of research. Customers do research, before they buy.
Display probably isn’t the sole solution for driving brand awareness. However, it is a great and profitable way for driving sales. And if you agree with your own statement that “We don’t get them to try our product by convincing them to love our brand. We get them to love our brand by convincing them to try our product“, then sales are needed in order to build a strong brand. But if you believe that CTR equal sales, then you are off by a mile and a half… perhaps two… at least. And if you believe that you can generate sales without interactivity, then … well…
A few notations on Interactivity as a friend
Let’s take it one step at a time. You write about your two principles for online advertising.
1. “The first is that interactivity is the enemy of advertising. Whether the interactivity takes the form of clicking a tv remote, pushing a radio push-button, clicking a mouse or swiping a page, we believe that people are far more likely to interact with a medium to avoid advertising than toengage with it.”
2. “Second, we believe that online advertising has turned out to be far better at fulfilling demand than at creating demand. This accounts for the success of advertising on sites like Google and Craig’s List, where people are searching for something. It also accounts for the failure of most display advertising.”
So, what is wrong with this?
Well. First off. I don’t think any DR marketeer would ever agree with you that interactivity is any kind of advertising enemy. Rather. Interactivity is, and must be, advertisings best friend. That is why we watch the super bowl commercials (by the way, Coke and Doritos have ads running on my FB right now..) willingly on YouTube as well as willingly hit the like button on brands we tend to associate with. That is why we redeem the coupon we get to our cellphone and that is why we purchase the deal being offered in the banner ad. I for god sakes make money – and loads of it – running a website completely filled up with deals and coupons. Demand fulfilling you might say…
That would be true, if I didn’t make some of the money from the website, but most of my money I from the e-mails I send and the posts I share on Facebook. JESUS!! I must be doing something odd, or marketing towards some really special group, cause these purpose driven people MUST be there waiting for me to fullfil them with my feed stories and e-mails. No. I build demand. Using digital channels. Leading to direct conversion. Using the one skill you cannot live without, or earn without in the digital space – namely the skill of writing selling and compelling copy.
You might still be living in the world of eyeballs. Where demand is created by repetition. But in the world of 2012, we need to create advertising that sells. Not tomorrow but today. We need to give our consumers an offer they cannot refuse to try out. We then need to give them reason to tell the story about what they experienced – through our product. We need to create traceable campaigns which you can visualize the results from, using Excel. ROI. This word you TV-praising advertisers hate. How can you prove ROI on a TV ad. Estimate it, yes. But prove it. No. Darn. Damn it. Bullocks. However I can. But I need interaction in order to be able to calculate it.
Interactions are our friends. Not our enemies. They guide us when we do something right and they help us improve what we do. But I guess you are too damn good to learn from the data. You’d rather create a TV-ad and hope and pray that it sits with your “audience”. Cause you are not able to change your stuff until it works. Something which is a privilege for those of us working with digital media. Online. But I suppose you have never heard of iterative marketing campaigns nor have you paid any notice to optimization and don’t give a damn about growth over time. You merely find it interesting to look at estimates of “impact” that you see as a result of your offline campaigns. Hmm… aren’t those estimates based on interview studies by the way… rather than behavioral studies… nrrr mind.
With all of that said. Your kind will diminish, my kind will prevail. Regardless of how good your kind is at telling a story, the story you sell will remain a lie as long as it cannot be backed by facts. Sadly, facts are nothing you will ever understand.